Is your password too easy to guess? Experts say the most popular password this year is ‘123456’

TORONTO — Today is World Password Day, a day to encourage everyone to create more secure passwords to protect their personal information.

Even though many people know they shouldn’t use the names of their children, pets or birthdays they do it anyway, which can make them vulnerable to hackers.

A survey by CyberNews found the most common passwords in 2021 didn’t require much thought. Examples include 123456 and the word PASSWORD.

“I probably have over 200 passwords right now in my keychain” said Chet Lakhani of Ajax who works in I.T. and advises his friends and family to use strong passwords to keep their information secure.

Personally he has so many passwords that he uses the iCloud Keychain password manger. With it you remember the master password and it remembers the rest.

“I highly encourage people to use a password manager. It’s the simplest and most effective way to solve this problem (of remembering passwords) is to just use a password manager”, said Lakhani.

Dave Lewis a security expert with Cisco Canada said you should only use complex passwords and never use the same one twice.

“Getting people to use a strong password is one thing. Getting them to store it correctly is another.” said Lewis.

Lewis said the criminal element is constantly scouring the internet checking social media websites for password hints they use to try and hack passwords.

You should never use a password on more than one website, because if it gets hacked you could leave your other accounts vulnerable.

A strong password should not be a dictionary word or combination of dictionary words. It should have 12 characters including numbers, symbols, capital and lower case letters.

You can store passwords in password manager which are free or you can pay a monthly fee for their services.

Lewis advises if possible to use multifactor authentication, meaning at least two steps are required to enter a website or program.

“This is just one example of push based technology that adds that extra layer so that you are not just relying on a user name and password in order to access your accounts” said Lewis.

Lewis advises to always watch emails for suspicious links which may be phishing to try and get you to reveal your passwords.

Password technology has been around since 1962 and some experts say it’s time to do away with them in favour of safer technology.

Biometrics such as fingerprints, voice and facial recognition are more difficult for thieves to hack.

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